Fox News Takes Conventional Way to the Top

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Led by its coverage of the Republican National Convention, Fox News Channel took the top slot in basic cable’s primetime rankings last week.

Fox News -- grabbing eight of the top 10 and a share of 10 of the top 12 shows for the span -- averaged a 2.7 household rating Aug. 30-Sept. 5 and some 3.19 million viewers two-plus, according to a Disney ABC Cable Networks Group analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

Fox News edged out Turner Network Television, which averaged a 2.6 last week.

ESPN was third with a 1.7, while Lifetime Television, Nick at Nite, Cartoon Network and Disney Channel all shared the fourth spot with a 1.6 apiece.

There was also a logjam across the balance of the medium’s top 10, as TBS, Cable News Network, FX, A&E Network and The Weather Channel -- the latter with its coverage of Hurricane Frances -- all averaged a 1.2.

Fox News -- which notched its best performance in terms of top-rated programming since its coverage of the Iraqi war in March 2003 -- also fared well in the demo races.

The network was third among the advertiser-coveted adult 18-49 group with 962,000 of those watchers (TNT and ESPN had 1.29 million and 1.04 million, respectively) and second among adults 25-54 (its 1.18 million trailed TNT’s 1.44 million).

Fox News even cracked the top 10 among young adults, placing ninth with the 18-34 set, averaging 285,000 of those watchers a week ago.

A weekly scorecard showed that Fox News scored highest with President Bush’s acceptance address of the Republican nomination Sept. 2, averaging a 5.5 household rating from 10:07 p.m.-11:12 p.m. that night.

The second-highest-rated segment for the week was a 10-minute film about Bush introduced by New York Gov. George Pataki immediately preceding the president’s speech, which drew a 5.0 rating.

Only TNT’s Sept. 1 telecast of Law & Order from 9 p.m.-10 p.m. (a 4.0), Turner South’s coverage of the Major League Baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves Aug. 31 (3.8) and an Aug. 30 installment of L&O from 9 p.m.-10 p.m. (3.8) broke Fox News’ hold on the top 12 spots for the week.